“preDawn”, the first chapter of blinks of awe, touches on traveling, inspiration, the deep corners of the night, and nostalgia. Though the latter is only directly referenced in two of the seven poems, it drives the other topics and ideas in its own unique way.
Nostalgia has been a pet topic of mine for years. I moved over a dozen times before finishing college. That taught me how to connect and disconnect but not how to forget. My first novel is very much a nostalgia story. But before I was ready to write about it at book length, I explored those constant fields of change through poetry.
Anything can trigger nostalgia, but I tend to find myself in those old, familiar places late at night or when I’m traveling. I love the quieter world where the majority sleeps. It’s jarring in its peaceful difference from the day when everything is vying for your attention. I actually hate travel, as it reminds me too much of moving, but like the night time, it’s a particularly powerful time to reflect and notice change. And for a romantic, change is just nostalgia fuel. I wouldn’t miss the glory days if they were still here. The times where I notice change and feel the past are also where I write the majority of my poetry. Travel limits who you can connect with. The night frees you from other people. The nostalgia gives you perspective on your whole life, from sweet past to suddenly self-aware present. How can you not get inspired?
Reclaiming what you had and still believe should be yours is a dangerous emotional road. My main problem is I tend to miss everything equally. When I think about the future, there are clear boundaries and preferences among my goals. It’s easier to say what I want more or what I want first. But when I look back, I want all those nice things that are gone with the same amount of longing. Combine that with what psychology says about the positive bias of human memory and you have a strong recipe for getting stuck. It all feels grand and worth having again.
Nostalgia can be helpful. It can remind you of things you lost that are worth reclaiming, even if they’re intangibles like late night inspiration or the single-serving friends you make on red eye flights. I come back to those places because the longing isn’t ephemeral. I know that because I haven’t had a single groggy morning where I regretted the past night of sleepless writing. But I try to keep in mind that indulging in all that wonderful mental time travel doesn’t leave my decision-making abilities unaffected.